top of page
< Back
Kevan Parsley - Organizer of Sarnia's Walking Soccer Program
Kevan Parsley

Kevan Parsley is the organizer of Sarnia’s Walking Soccer program. Kevan has been a lifelong soccer player who has found his chance to play again after hanging up his boots. He shared his experiences with walking soccer with us so far.

On his introduction to walking soccer and starting up in Sarnia...

I went to the UK, where I’m originally from, and two friends asked me if I wanted to play walking soccer. I had been playing soccer all my life, but said no as I wasn’t interested. I ended up going just to watch, but as soon as I started watching them play, I was hooked. The next week they were playing again, but I didn’t have any shorts, so I went out and bought a pair of shorts and played. I thought, I’ve got to get this going in Canada, and so the following year I did. I contacted people I had played with locally in Sarnia’s industrial league, and anybody I thought would be interested in playing. Gradually, it got going and the city of Sarnia gave us permission to play outdoors before it got too cold.

On starting to play indoor throughout the winter...

We started the program, but didn’t play in the winter. This is the first season we’ve played indoors because of COVID, lots of people going south or on vacation in the winter. We didn’t have the numbers, but we tried again and there were quite a few players interested and we pushed to get a location. I’m really glad we did it because it’s really going well indoors. We open the doors, and it’s almost like we’re in a different world – everybody’s happy and talking.
Depending on the season we play indoors or outdoors. Indoors the field is a lot smaller, like the size of a basketball court, but outdoors we use half the length of a full-size field. Depending on the numbers we adjust the size of the field. We usually get on average 14 players, but we’ve seen larger numbers, sometimes 18 players.

What Sarnia’s WS Program looks like...

I think it's a fantastic community – it's always been done well for soccer. There’s a soccer culture here. We’ve always had excellent soccer teams over the years, and it just carries on. It seems as though each generation still has a fairly strong soccer community. A lot of us come from different locations in the world, and soccer’s a worldwide sport. In our walking soccer group, we had one player who played running soccer competitively, and he enjoyed walking soccer so much he quit the competitive side and just plays walking soccer now. Another one of our players will be 90 this year, another is 88. It’s for all ages. We have an age restriction, but we’re not strict about it. If someone wants to play, we let them. The way I see it, the more the merrier.

On the benefits of walking soccer...

I quit playing outdoors when I was 44, and was introduced to walking soccer at 68, so I hadn’t played for 24 years – I’d given up. I’m glad we started the program in Sarnia, and I’m glad walking soccer is starting to take off in Canada as well. People love playing it, and I think once you’re hooked on soccer, even from a young age, you’re hooked for life. I never thought I’d play soccer again when I quit at 44. Walking soccer has been the best thing for us.
Walking soccer has been a wonderful experience. It’s great for elderly people, the location is good, we play outdoors or indoors. It’s good socially because afterwards everybody is happy and talking and bantering throughout the games. There’s no tackling in walking soccer as well, which is great because people don’t want to get injured. We also have social evenings as well, the odd golf days here and there. The group here just loves it.
It keeps people healthy and gives people with different medical issues the chance to play. Some have been requested by either a physiotherapist or hospital to do some types of exercise, and it’s good for them. For people who live alone it’s great socially because they look forward to the days we play in the week. I think there’s nothing worse than being sat at home on your own all day, doing the same thing, so the social side is a big positive.

On playing with other programs in Ontario...

One of the great things has been playing with other walking soccer programs. I found Oakville plays, Pickering plays, and reached out to them. I got in contact with David Hamon at the Oakville program, and we played twice, once home and once away. There were some differences in the rules in our programs, where they play with a three-touch limit and we play with unlimited touches. Walking soccer is great because you can adapt the rules, and we standardized the rules to play against each other. David and I became good friends, and we want to play them again this year, home and away again. After the game in Oakville, we all went out to lunch, and it was like we’ve all known each other forever, it was fantastic.

bottom of page